Soaring With Angels - Alt End #3 Part 1




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Soaring With Angels
Alternate Ending #3

Author’s Note:


The end? Or is it?

How about a do-over?

I love the fact that the same event could be interpreted many different ways. That is what inspired to write this story in the first place. And like any good mystery I threw in a few red herrings to hopefully keep the reader off balance. But somewhere in the middle of writing this, my mind started to explore some of those other possibilities.

Have you ever read a story and wished it would go a different direction or thought of a different ending? As a writer I often come up several different scenarios and endings even for my own stories, like a choose your own adventure if you will. I mentioned it to my beta Ellie and she suggested I should write the other endings for this story.

So here goes.

To quote the movie Clue - “That’s how it could have happened. But how about this…”

Summary: Everything in Soaring has happened up to this point. Max killed Lonni, Rath, Tess and the Skins. Isabel and Khivar lured Michael, Max and Liz to Antar. Michael was killed. Max’s forces won the war and he had Khivar and Isabel executed. This ending starts in Part 18. Liz is convinced that Max is evil and is planning to kill him to save him from himself.


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PART 1


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(Antar date 06.14.71306)
(Royal Palace – Conference Room)

Max stood at the head of the table addressing his generals. All of his supporters were gathered in the palace for the conference that was scheduled to start tomorrow, but arrangements for the extra security hadn’t been followed as Max wanted. He slammed his fist down on the table. “This is unacceptable General,” he bellowed. “I order you to…”

Max trailed off as he felt a surge of fear through the connection. “Liz!” he gasped. He raced out of the room and down the hall, followed closely by several guards and the head priest Jaetus.

That morning he had left Liz in their room again to rest, and he could feel through their bond that she was still there. Max burst into their room and looked around for danger but the only thing he saw was Liz sobbing on the bed.

The guards and Jaetus came into the room too, but paused when they saw only Liz.

Instantly Max was beside her taking her face in his hands. “What’s wrong Liz? You’re shaking.”

Liz met his eyes. “I had another vision.”

“What was it?” Max asked.

Tears ran down Liz’s face. “I saw an assassin in our room killing you, killing us both. It happens during the conference.”

Jaetus dropped to the ground, bowing before them. “The Queen has had a vision that will save the King. She is Liz Zha’antet, oracle, goddess.”

Max ignored him, turning to the guards. “Lock down the palace, don’t let anyone in or out. I want everyone checked and rechecked.”

The guards bowed and hurried away. Max turned to Jaetus, who was still on the floor. “Leave us priest.”

Jaetus backed out the door bowing low, and with a wave of his hand Max slammed it behind him. He sat on the bed next to Liz and wrapped her in his arms, kissing the tears from her face tenderly as she trembled against him. “Nothing will happen to us,” he vowed. “I will make sure.”

Liz touched his face as she looked into his eyes, forcing a small smile. “I know, I’m just scared.” She leaned into him, closing her eyes and inhaling his familiar scent. “I’m so scared, Max,” she whispered.

He hugged her shivering form to him tightly. “Sssshhh. Everything will be okay.” Lightly rocking her, he placed a kiss on the top of her head. “It will all be okay.”

Liz looked up into his eyes as tears continued to roll down her face, her heart breaking. She knew killing him was her only choice, the only way to save him, but it didn’t make it any easier. Max loved her with all of his heart and soul just as she loved him and she wished things could have been any other way.

She had to be strong for them both, she was the only one who could save them. To save everyone. But she needed to touch him, be with him just one more time.

“Make love to me Max,” she said touching his face. “I need to feel you over me, inside me. I need to feel your passion and strength. I need to feel your love.”


Song Playing: One Caress by Depeche Mode


Max brushed the hair away from her face and cupped her head gently, holding her gaze. “You know I love you, but I will gladly say it a million more times just so you can hear it.”

Liz smiled and more tears ran down her face. “Max.”

He leaned in kissing her tenderly, putting all of his feelings for her into it.

Max’s kiss was so sweet it brought more tears to Liz’s eyes. She opened herself to him, getting lost in the kiss as she felt Max’s overwhelming love and passion through their connection. His love for her was unconditional, and so powerful and Liz basked in the feelings. Everything but the two of them faded into the background as the sensations rushed through her.

He released the fastening on her dress and let it pool around her waist leaving her chest bare.

Liz’s hands went to the buttons on Max’s shirt quickly unfastened them, and parting the material she pushed it down and off his arms. She leaned in embracing him, pressing their naked flesh together.

Max wrapped his arms around her, holding her tightly and tracing light circles on her back.

Liz inhaled deeply Max’s familiar scent letting it fill her senses. She knew it would be their last time together and she wanted to remember everything about him. She placed soft, wet kisses across his pecs, laving her tongue over his nipples. Her hands roamed over his back and around his sides to his chest, caressing his hard muscles. She continued with her kisses, moving up to his shoulder and down his powerful arm to his hand. Liz gripped his hand and placed a kiss on his palm and then turned to nuzzle her cheek against it.

Max cupped her face in his hands and kissed her thoroughly, lingeringly before trailing kisses down her throat. He laid her back as he continued down her chest, taking her breast into his mouth.

Heat flashed through Liz as Max’s mouth touched her and she arched up into him. Her hands went to his head, tangling in his hair, pulling him closer.

His hands smoothed down across her stomach as he continued to suck and lave her hard nipples. When his hands reached the material of her dress he gripped it and her panties, pulling them down and off her body. He took the opportunity of divest himself of the rest of his clothes and joined her on the bed again.

Taking possession of her breasts with his hands, he used the pads of his thumbs to stroke her nubs as he placed moist kisses lower and lower down her stomach.

Liz opened her legs to him, inviting him lower for the most intimate kiss, and Max greedily accepted her invitation.

He didn’t tease at all, his mouth going directly to her already moist core. With a long stroke of his tongue he dipped inside her, lapping her smoky juices.

Liz moaned with the sensations that Max was causing within her. It felt like a live wire connected her breasts and feminine core, and her body writhed uncontrollably. It always amazed her that a few simple touches could drive her so totally wild.

Max continued to lick her lower lips, alternating between sliding his tongue between her folds and dipping it inside her. She was building quickly to orgasm and didn’t think the sensations could get any more intense until she felt Max’s fingers brush against her clit.

She arched into him and Max rubbed her clit quickly as he continued to plunge his tongue inside her. Max loved that he could make her crazy with desire and Liz’s pleasure increased his own. Through their connection he felt that she was on the precipice and a final stroke of his tongue sent her over the edge.

Her whole body tightened as she came and her inner walls pulsed powerfully around his tongue. Greedily he lapped up her juices as she rode out her orgasm.

The sensations rushing through Liz’s body gradually lessened and she reached down touching Max’s shoulder. “Max, make love to me. I need you so much.”

Max’s smoldering gaze held hers as he climbed up the bed and settled over her. She was practically desperate for him and he wanted her just as badly. Reaching between them he led his rigid shaft to her damp slit, and his eyes never leaving hers, he so slowly inched himself inside.

He loved to watch the sensations that crossed her face as they made love. Liz’s reactions were so open and honest, her pleasure so evident that it increased his own to witness it.

A look of wonder, almost surprise was clear in her eyes as he continued to push into her. Liz was so sensitive and Max knew they both could feel every long inch of him sliding inside. And when he finally was sheathed completely within her, he saw her satisfaction and feeling of utter contentment.

Max stopped his motion when they were completely joined and Liz was glad. She held his eyes just wanting to savor the sensation and knew he wanted the same thing. Never did they feel closer to one another than when he was buried deep inside.

She continued to hold his gaze as she slid her arms around him. Max’s love and desire was all around her, flowing through her, and she would have been content to stay like that forever.

Instantly she heard his echoing thought through their connection.

Being with you, inside you, loving you, is surely what I was born to do, he said.

We were born to love each other, Liz answered. She wrapped her legs around Max, changing the angle of her hips and pulling him even deeper inside her. Max exhaled a shuddering breath and she knew that he was concentrating to maintain control. It drove him crazy to know that he was inside her as far as he could go.

Involuntarily his hips bucked slightly, withdrawing him a couple of inches before he surged back in. Liz gasped with pleasure and Max couldn’t wait any longer. Still holding her gaze, he pulled out of her so slowly, every inch causing delicious friction between their bodies. When the tip of his cock was the only thing that remained within her he stopped immediately reversing direction. He watched her eyes widen with pleasure as he pushed himself back inside all the way to the hilt, the angle of her hips causing every long inch of him to stroke against the sensitive spot inside her.

Again and again he slowly inched in and out of her tight passage, the pleasure almost excruciating for both of them. Liz whimpered and shuddered beneath him and a sheen of sweat covered his body. He was so close but he didn’t want it to end so quickly. He wanted Liz to feel every ounce of his love and passion to chase her fears away.

Still holding her eyes he reached between them stroking her clit and Liz immediately flew apart. He stilled within her, eager to see every emotion that crossed her beautiful face. Her velvety passageway squeezed his cock rhythmically and Max was forced to grit his teeth in the effort not to come. Instead he concentrated on Liz. As the spasms of her climax continued to wash through her, he stroked her smooth skin, his hand roaming over her chest and neck, caressing her with a feather’s touch.

Leaning down he placed wet open-mouth kisses on the same path his hands had just covered. He took his time, tasting the skin of her shoulders and chest, licking and grazing it with his teeth. Continuing, he kissed a line across her pale neck and throat devouring her delicate skin. He cupped her head and placed soft kisses on her chin, her cheeks, her forehead, her eyelids, her nose, worshipping every part of her. He was so caught up in his task that it surprised him when Liz took his face in her hands and led his lips to hers.

Liz tangled her hands in his hair and thrust her tongue into his mouth. The orgasm had been incredible but the feel of Max’s hands and mouth on her body had aroused her desire again.

The kiss caught Max by surprise but he quickly recovered and took over. He grasped Liz’s head holding her to him, his tongue dueling with hers. Again he started to slowly move within her and Liz’s body jerked in reaction.

She whimpered into his mouth and grazed his back with her short nails. Max broke their kiss as a hiss of overwhelming pleasure left him. The feel of Liz’s soft body under him, around him was driving him crazy. He arched his back as Liz dug her fingers into his skin and continued his slow pace.

Liz cried out, every languid deep stroke of Max’s hard length pushing her slowly closer to the edge. She started to writhe beneath him, the pleasure building to an impossible point. Her thighs involuntarily squeezed around him and she arched up instinctively wanting to be as close as possible. “Max,” she gasped. “Oh Max.”

Liz’s pleasure was his only concern and Max lifted her hips to bring their bodies even closer into alignment. He maintained his slow pace savoring every one of Liz’s reactions, her gasps and moans, the arching of her body, the grasp of her small hands on his back. With a few more strokes he felt the first sign of her orgasm as her tight passageway started to flutter around him. He groaned with the effort not to increase his speed, ignoring his instinct to plunge into her.

He inched out again and so slowly pushed back into her, and when the tip of his hard length hit the sensitive spot inside, Liz bucked beneath him as a powerful orgasm ripped through her body. Her inner walls clamped down on his cock and with a groan of pure masculine pleasure Max followed her over the edge.

His breath came in gasps as he collapsed against her, savoring the incredible feeling of pleasure that only Liz could give him, and reveling in her pleasure that he felt through their connection. They floated on an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction, peace and love for what seemed like hours. But gradually the sensations washing through their bodies lessened and their breathing returned to normal.

Max rose up to meet Liz’s eyes and smiled. He kissed her forehead and Liz smiled back at him. The lovemaking had been incredible for both of them and there was nothing Max enjoyed more than giving Liz pleasure, but he wanted to make sure that she felt his love. “I love you Liz,” he said softly, “and I’ll never let anything happen to you.”

Liz held his eyes and touched his face gently. “I know,” she whispered. “I love you so much Max. And even with everything that’s happened I wouldn’t trade a minute of the time we’ve had together.”

Max started to pull out of her, but Liz held him tight, unwilling to let him go yet. “Just stay a few more minutes,” she said.

Max nodded. “I’ll stay inside as long as you want. I just thought I might be getting too heavy.”

“No,” Liz assured him. “Never. I like feeling your weight on me, feeling you inside me. It makes me feel like everything will be all right.”

Max held her eyes. “Everything will be all right. I promise.”

Liz hugged him fiercely. Their time together was running out and she was scared.

Shivers started through her body again and Max felt her fear through their connection. He held her tightly as he spoke. “I’ll be at your side no matter what. You’ll always have my strength and love supporting you, and together we’ll face whatever is coming,” he vowed.

Liz nodded feeling strengthened by his words, knowing the time had come. She released her grip on him and Max pulled out of her. He passed a hand over their lower bodies cleaning them, and settled into bed next to her covering their spent bodies with a blanket. He laid back and wrapped his arms around Liz cradling her against his chest, and placed a kiss on the top of her head.

Liz curled into Max’s side, relaxing against his muscular chest, lazily caressing it with her hand.

Gently he stroked her hair. “So many terrible things have happened, but from now on it will only get better,” Max assured her.

Liz nodded and answered solemnly. “Yes, it will only get better.”


Song Playing: So Cold by Breaking Benjamin


Liz listened to Max’s heartbeat as he continued to stroke her hair. Gradually his movements stilled and his breathing slowed until she was sure he was asleep.

She was careful to keep completely still for an additional hour, then she slowly rose up and carefully slid her leg over his body, straddling him. Liz could feel his soft, velvety cock pressing against her lower lips, and for a moment she paused as shivers of desire raced through her. More than anything she wanted to feel him rock hard, surging inside her, taking her breath away with his anger-fueled passion. But she had work to do and tried to push her feelings aside.

She deliberately avoided looking at his face and with her powers she turned the sheets into shackles. And working quickly and silently she tightly strapped his wrists and upper arms to the bed.

When she was sure he was secured, Liz used a swipe of her hand to turn her pillow into a large dagger. And before she could change her mind, she plunged the dagger toward Max’s throat.


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For the last few days Max had been experiencing a nagging feeling of wrongness. He couldn’t have said what it was or why he was feeling it, the sensation just seemed to be there all the time. Even in sleep Max felt that something was wrong.

In his dream he walked the halls of the palace looking for Liz. At first he wasn’t concerned, simply asking the servants and guards if they knew where she was. But as more and more people told him they hadn’t seen Liz the more worried he became. Anything could have happened to her. Khivar’s men could have taken her or worse.

Max continued, stopping every person he saw inquiring about Liz, but no one had seen her. He grew more worried and hurried onward, searching every hall, every room, every nook where she could have been concealed. But he found no trace of her and the farther he traveled the fewer people he encountered.

Eventually he realized he was in a part of the palace he didn’t recognize. The hallways went off at strange angles and seemed to twist and turn back on themselves and soon Max didn’t even know which way he was going. He pushed on faster hoping to see someone who could help him find his way but everyone had disappeared. The corridors started to grow dark and Max picked up his pace, worried that Liz had become lost in the confusing maze. He called out. “Liz! Liz where are you!”

Suddenly he could feel her overwhelming fear and sorrow through their connection. The emotions were so powerful that he stopped in his tracks convinced that she was nearby. “Liz?”

Her essence seemed to be next to him, surrounding him but he couldn’t see her. He looked back the way he had come. “Liz!” he called again, but there was still no answer.

Max turned to look down the hall the way he had been traveling. He realized that it was different than it had been a moment ago, and now he recognized where he was. He was standing near the entrance to the dungeon.

A cold shiver of fear raced down Max’s spine. Surely Liz hadn’t gone back down there to see Khivar. But maybe Khivar had used his powers to lure her to him somehow. And suddenly Max was panicked. There was no telling what Khivar was doing to Liz. Max raced toward the stairs but before he reached them he felt a pick of pain at his neck.

Instantly his shield lashed out as he came awake. His thoughts were muddled but he was aware that someone was on top of him and he grabbed for his attacker’s arms as he lunged forward.

As his eyes snapped open Max’s confused gaze took in several things instantaneously. He was pinning Liz to the bed and she was angry, thrashing furiously. His shield encased the two of them completely, except for Liz’s right hand which was holding a deadly-looking dagger. He noted the blood on the tip of the dagger and felt the pain at his neck and realized that Liz had tried to kill him.

Shock paralyzed him for long moments as his mind worked furiously to process what had happened. Liz had just tried to kill him!?!? It couldn’t be true, but he had caught her in the act, and with wide eyes he looked back at her. She was wriggling beneath him, trying to get away.

“No!” she screamed, “Let me go!”

“Liz?” he gasped.

She twisted her body and bucked her hips. “I have to kill you! It’s the only way!”

“Liz,” he said again. She didn’t respond and he spoke louder, “Liz!” but she didn’t even meet his eyes. Max used just a fraction of his power to pin her body to the bed, holding her completely immobile. With both hands he gripped her head, attempting to make eye contact. “Liz! Liz, can you hear me?”

As she attempted unsuccessfully to move she screamed with rage and helplessness. Her eyes were wild and tears of frustration streamed down her face. Max had never seen her look like that before and he knew something was horribly wrong. Liz would never do anything like that, she loved him, she would never try to kill him. His first thought was that Khivar had done something to her that he had missed when he had examined her.

“Liz, Khivar has used his powers on you. Liz, you have to fight it.”

Her eyes burned with determination as they finally met his. “Khivar showed me what my visions were trying to tell me. He showed me the truth. You’re evil and I have to kill you to save you.”

Max was incredulous. He shook his head hardly believing what she was saying. He was hurt by her words, and devastated that she could believe that he was evil. Tears pricked at his eyes. “Liz I…”

But he trailed off realizing it was Khivar’s powers and not Liz talking. He glanced again at the dagger in her hand and with a thought dissolved it. Pressing his hand to her head, he used his powers to gently lull Liz into a deep sleep before lowering his shield. Then he climbed off her and noticed the broken shackles Liz had obviously made to tie him down. His powers had burst through them freeing him, but another cold shiver raced down his spine as he realized how close Khivar had come to succeeding in killing him.

He had been so busy looking for enemies from the outside that he hadn’t stopped to consider he could be in danger from anyone close to him. He berated himself for the oversight. After Isabel’s betrayal he couldn’t afford to trust anyone completely, except Liz. And no matter what he never would have suspected Liz. Of course he wasn’t really in danger from Liz. Khivar had done something to her, caused her to act this way.

With a gentle brush of his hand Max smoothed Liz’s hair off her face as he opened their connection. Now that she was unable to block him from her thoughts Max could see everything in her mind that she had been carefully hiding from him. Liz absolutely believed he was evil, and she also believed she could save him by killing him and then use the Granolith to go back and fix everything. He felt more tears prick his eyes as he witnessed the things that had convinced her; the horrifying visions of his past and present life, her memories of terrible things he had done, as well as images of things that had never happened.

He had done terrible things to keep them alive and safe, things that he never thought he would do, and he knew Liz understood that. She had always supported him and never questioned his actions. He had often wondered if he would ever get over the guilt he felt about having Isabel executed, or the thousands of Khivar’s troops he had slaughtered, the men he had tortured, or how he’d killed Lonni, Rath and especially Tess. But now he knew that his actions had taken a toll on Liz too.

Liz felt terribly guilty for all of the things he had been forced to do. She also felt guilt for not realizing earlier that Isabel was in terrible trouble, for their friends and family who had died, for all of the pain and suffering. She saw everything as her fault because she hadn’t told Max immediately about the visit from his future self.

And because Liz thought it was her fault she thought she had to be the one to fix it. In her mind Max watched her agonizing thought process of what to do, and finally her decision to kill him. She was desperately sad and scared but she didn’t think there was another solution.

And Max wondered if her guilt had made her susceptible to Khivar’s powers.

Carefully he searched through her mind, trying to figure out what exactly Khivar had done to her, but he still couldn’t find anything wrong. Problems of the mind weren’t his specialty, he needed help.

Max used two swipes of his hand to clothe them both and turn the shackles back into bedding. With another thought he pushed open the door to their room and called out to the guard. “Get a mind healer here immediately! The Queen is ill!”

One guard spoke into his communicator and the other rushed into the room. “Your Majesty, your neck is bleeding!”

Max reached to his neck and healed it with a small push of power. “It’s nothing,” he said dismissingly, focusing his attention back on Liz.

The guard stepped closer. “What happened, your Majesty? What is wrong with the Queen?”

Max shook his head. “More of Khivar’s treachery.”

The guard gasped. “But Khivar is dead.”

Max’s head snapped up with sudden realization. Could Khivar have done something to Liz that would continue to influence her so strongly after he was gone? It didn’t seem possible that Khivar’s powers would still be so potent even after he was dead. Max met the guard’s eyes. “Is he?”

The guard shifted uncomfortably. Your Majesty, I was standing at your side when it happened. The whole planet watched as Khivar was executed.”

“Did we?” Max asked as he turned introspective. All he had really seen was someone who looked like Khivar being executed. No, he corrected himself immediately, someone who looked like Khivar was apparently executed. But it would have been easy enough to fake if Khivar had inside help. Khivar could have substituted someone for himself before the execution, or perhaps the executioner had only pretended to kill him.

Max looked back at the guard. “Get General Darius!”

The guard snapped to attention. “Immediately, your Majesty.” He bowed and stepped away as he spoke into his communicator.

Max turned to Liz. Her brow was creased, her mind tormented even in sleep. He cupped her cheek and pushed his love for her into their connection. “Liz this is all my fault,” he said softly. “I should have had your mind checked more thoroughly, made sure that Khivar hadn’t done anything to you.” He shook his head, “And I should have made sure the bastard was dead. I should have killed him myself and burned the body until it was nothing but a pile of dust.”

He stroked the velvety skin of her cheek. “None of this is your fault. You’ve only tried to do what was right.”

Their whole time on Antar had been like a nightmare. Going to another planet to test Isabel’s loyalty and discovering she was truly a traitor had been horrible. But they had hardly had time to even think about it because they were thrust immediately into a bloody interplanetary war.

There was no way they could have imagined how different their lives would be. The new planet, culture and language were minor considerations but only added to their stress. But neither he nor Liz had grasped what his people expected him to be. They looked to him with such expectation, with such awe and he had struggled to live up to that. He knew it had been stressful for Liz too. The whole future of the planet, of five planets rested on their shoulders.

They had pushed each other for more and more power. Perhaps they had pushed too hard and too fast but at the time it was the only option. Max grimaced. They had done a lot of things that they both felt were wrong, but there had been no other choice. The war had to be won, no matter what the cost.

And just as it looked like they were finally winning the war they had lost Michael. Each death in their lives had been horrible, but Michael’s loss had been devastating. Max knew it had hit Liz particularly hard because Michael had sacrificed himself for her.

Max felt a tear in his eye as he looked at Liz’s beautiful face. They had been under so much stress for so long, even before they had gotten to Antar, and Max wondered if that had helped to convince Liz that he was evil. She was exhausted physically and mentally, they both were, but maybe her tired mind had allowed in doubts about him.

Jaetus, Kasha and the healer Seris rushed into the room and over to the bed where Max was sitting next to Liz.

“What happened?” Seris asked Max.

Max glanced at the guard, who bowed and moved out of the room. Max waited until he was gone to answer Seris. “The day before the execution Liz went to visit Khivar,” Max said shaking his head.

“I remember,” Jaetus said. “She seemed very unsteady after the encounter.”

Max nodded. “I was convinced Khivar had done something to her and checked her but I didn’t find anything. But obviously I was wrong because she tired to kill me tonight.”

“What?” they asked in unison.

Max nodded grimly. “Liz waited until I was asleep and bound me to the bed and tried to cut my throat. But it wasn’t Liz. She would never do that. I connected with her and found out that Khivar has convinced her that I’m evil. She was trying to kill me to save me from myself. But she remembers things that are different than how they really happened, and she had visions of things that never happened. Khivar must have done something to her to make her mind create or re-create reality.”

Seris specialized in healing the mind and he nodded agreeing. “Khivar could have done any number of things to her, but I should be able to figure it out.” He reached out to place his hands on Liz’s head, forming a connection.

As he examined her General Darius rushed into the room, noting Liz on the bed.

“What happened Your Majesty?” Darius asked.

“Khivar has done something to Liz,” Max answered without taking his eyes off Liz, “messed with her mind.”

“When she went to see him?” Darius asked.

Max nodded and finally met his eyes. “I know this is going to sound crazy but I think Khivar is still manipulating her. Could he still be alive? What if Khivar had an ally on our staff who helped him escape before the execution, or helped him fake his death?”

Darius nodded. “I would like to say it was impossible but it could have happened.”

“Start an investigation immediately,” Max ordered. “I want Khivar’s remains exhumed to verify that he is dead.”

“That won’t be necessarily,” Seris said, bringing their attention back to where he sat with Liz. “Khivar is still alive and so is Isabel,” Seris said. “In Liz’s mind I found a small thread of a connection and it looks like Khivar and Isabel have been working to influence her for quite some time.”

“What have they done to her?” Max asked horrified.

“I was able to catch hints of their intensions when I examined her,” Seris said. “Isabel and Khivar sent Liz dreams and visions over the last year trying to sway her to believe that you were evil, but it wasn’t working. Liz was subconsciously fighting them and she wouldn’t believe anything bad about you. But when Liz went to visit Khivar he used the skin-to-skin contact to strengthen the connection, and in the last few days Khivar has convinced Liz that you are evil and that she had no choice but to kill you.”

Tears gathered in Max’s eyes as he looked at Liz. “They were doing it for a year? Too much mind manipulation killed Alex.” He touched Liz’s face. “Will she be alright?”

“Liz is powerful,” Seris said. “She was mostly able to keep them out of her mind until she visited Khivar, then his power just overwhelmed her. But we’ve caught it early and there is only a little damage. I can repair her mind and she’ll be fine.”

Max sighed with relief and sagged against the bed unable to his weight any longer.

Jaetus and Kasha were instantly at his side.

Max waved them away. “How could they have been contacting Liz and I didn’t know?”

“They were smart,” Seris said. “Khivar used Isabel to contact Liz because your sister’s essence in Liz’s mind wouldn’t seem out of place to either of you.”

“We have to find Khivar and Isabel now,” Max said looking to Seris. “Can you tell through the connection in Liz’s mind where they are?”

Seris shook his head. “No, but Liz might be able to reverse the connection and…”

“NO!” Max growled cutting him off. “She’s been through too much already. We are not using her like that.”

As the others discussed how they would find Khivar, Kasha took Max aside. “Max I’m certainly not blaming you, but I told you that keeping things from Liz was a bad idea. You should have told her the whole truth about your other life, everything you’ve remembered. She must have picked up on some of your memories and feelings through the connection and that probably helped convince her Khivar was telling the truth.”

Max shook his head, his eyes never leaving Liz. “I was afraid that she wouldn’t love me anymore if she knew the whole truth, and now the lies have put her in danger. I don’t know if Liz will forgive me.”

Kasha stroked his hair. “Liz loves you Max. She loves you, and you are not Zan anymore. She’ll understand.”

Max nodded. “Whether she understands or not I owe her the whole truth.”


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Isabel came out of her dream walk with a scowl on her face and Khivar knew instantly that they had failed.

“What happened?” he asked her.

Isabel shook her head. “Max woke up and stopped Liz before she could finish. Then he forced her into a deep sleep and I was pushed out of her mind.” She met Khivar’s eyes with a smile. “Do you think he’ll have Liz executed for trying to kill him?”

Khivar smiled back but raised an elegant eyebrow. “I though you loved Liz?”

Isabel frowned briefly. “I do love Liz, but I hate Max even more. I tried to save Liz, to get her to stay out of this, to stay on Earth but she wouldn’t listen. She has chosen her side, just like I have chosen mine.” She looked up to meet Khivar’s eyes. “If Liz has to be sacrificed to bring Max down, then so be it.”

Isabel smiled. “And I like the idea of Max being forced to kill the one person he loves more than anyone. It would tear him apart.”


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TBC






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